World Consumer Rights Day is an important occasion to raise awareness about consumers’ right to a fair, safe, and sustainable marketplace. The theme for 2021 is ‘Tackling Plastic Pollution’. According to Eurostat, the average EU citizen produced 5.2 tonnes of waste in 2018, much of this being plastic waste that ended up in landfills.
The diabetes community is becoming more and more concerned about the plastic waste associated with diabetes-related consumables (insulin pens, injections, test strips, etc.) and the plastic packaging they come in. However, many great initiatives have been developed to address this problem. For example, Type1EU launched their ‘Reduce Diabetes Technology Waste’ awareness campaign in June of last year. To get involved post your experience/tips online and use the hashtag #ReduceDiabetesTechnologyWaste.
On the topic of ‘Tackling Plastic Pollution’, it is also important to hold manufacturers, importers, and retailers of diabetes supplies accountable for the proper disposal of their products. Numerous large organisations in the medical field are actively trying to reduce plastic waste associated with their products. Medtronic works with hospitals all over the world to collect waste and convert it into electricity. They also have takeback initiatives on selected products that allow them to be recycled. Novo Nordisk has a zero environmental impact strategy, called ‘Circular for Zero’, to minimise consumption and waste. One of the key pillars of this strategy is to design eco-friendly products.
A few months’ worth of insulin pens, needles, and plastic packaging:
Many people living with diabetes want to reduce their environmental footprint, but don’t know where to start. Below are some tips on how to get started:
Read more about diabetes and the environment here and here.